The Ethanol Dilemma

Corn farmers love to see the production of ethanol continue. The demand for corn has continued to increase during the last few years. And as demand for corn has increased, so has the price. The increased price of corn has resulted in increased income, that is favorable for the corn farmers.

The food industry, including livestock, and the restaurant industries hate the fact that the price of corn has increased over the years. The oil industry and the Tea Party supporters are in favor of eliminating the manufacture of ethanol. Consumers have seen a steady increase in their weekly grocery bills.

Increased demand for corn can be traced in part, to a mandate imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2007. The mandate requires that a certain amount of ethanol, as an additive to gasoline, must be used in increasing amounts each year, since the inception of the mandate. During 2013, 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol was produced from corn, the largest producer of biofuels.

Currently the EPA is proposing a reduction in the amount ethanol produced. The reason is two fold. First the consumption of gasoline has diminished over the last few years. This is because of increased automotive fuel economy and the continued high number of unemployed workers. While the consumption of gasoline has diminished, the amount of ethanol added to gasoline has remained at 10%. The second factor is the mandate for increased amounts of ethanol produced each year. As a result, the EPA projects that in 2014 an excess of ethanol will be produced. The EPA is now calling for a reduction, compared to 2013 production levels, of 800 million gallons of ethanol that would be produced from corn in 2014.

The need for biofuels and their contribution to a clean environment is explored in this book. Please review the chapter on biofuels before making a judgement on the future need for biofuels, and learn how much taxpayers are paying to subsidize the production of this energy source.

Ref. Eaton, Sabrina. “Energy.” The Plain Dealer Newspaper. Cleveland, OH, Jan. 19, 2014.